Bella & Beau 2019: Farewell Osprey, A Season Finale

Osprey nest location:  Cambridge, Maryland, Chesapeake Bay Region, USA

September 16, 2019

I left us with my last post of September 10th, Momma Bella had left for migration and my last sighting of teen Bonita was September 8th so I mentioned she could have left as well.  She had.  I never sighted her again.

That left Dad Beau watching over and encouraging younger sibling, Brad.  I knew Brad’s instinct to migrate was imminent.  But I still didn’t expect it when it happened.

I last saw Brad and Dad Beau September 11th, the day after my last post.  I’ve sighted neither since, so yep, that was too quick.  In fact, I hadn’t seen any sightings of other Osprey in the area for the last couple days until today, a lone one off in the distance.


Now An Empty Nest (Literally) Until March 2020


I’m glad I watched Brad a few times when he did visit the nest for those two days before he left.  He gave a couple nice series to share with you.


During those last two days when Brad arrived at the nest, I could see he was always somewhat wet.  His feathers also showed a lot of wear and tear from the dives and soakings.  So that meant he was trying to fish, probably even succeeding at times.  He was most likely coming to the nest when he was tired.  It was easier to beg, right?  But his beggings were ignored by Dad Beau who I could usually find on the water tower, a sailboat mast, or in his tree keeping a watch over Brad.


Brad doing some begging


Brad still cracked me up, begging a bit, looking at Beau to see if he was responding, and then sit and pout and watch the fish swimming below him.


Brad watching small fish swimming about below


Catching me off-guard on the take-off, Brad chanced a dive from the nest but came up empty-talon.


Brad lifting out of the water after diving for a fish



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“I tried!”


Brad climbed and flew up to pass alongside me on my balcony…


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and gave me this next awesome photo opportunity to catch him shaking off the water.  At download, I was thrilled!  Thank you, Brad!!


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Brad’s “Shake it, baby!”


Brad flew back up to the nest platform and gave Dad Beau a glance over on the sailboat mast.


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“Dad, I tried!  Donna got a photo to prove it!”


Fishing from the nest is not practical for an Osprey, but I guess it’s tempting to a teen to give it a try.

I believed Brad could fish for himself evidenced by his full, healthy body and Beau’s refusal to deliver; but I am glad I captured a beautiful series of awesome Dad Beau giving Brad a break and delivering a fish to him one more time.

Enjoy Beau’s gorgeous wing maneuvers as he brings the fish in while an excited Brad, for once, patiently waits til Beau has landed and doesn’t go all martial-arts on him.  Probably because Brad knows Bonita’s not around to swoop in to try and take it!  😉


Dad Beau delivers a fish to Brad



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Beau flew to his favorite tree across the creek to take watch again over Brad



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Brad decided to fly over to the telephone pole to the left of Beau’s tree to eat his fish
(the gulls are hoping for a leftover morsel!)


A final three photos from those last two days…..


Handsome Brad ready for migration



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Brad practicing his martial-arts moves – “Hi-yah!


Today, Bella, Beau, Bonita, and Brad, as all other migrating Osprey, are each flying alone, heading to Central or South America for a toasty winter.  Bella could already be at her wintering grounds, fishing and rejuvenating in her tropical paradise.  Nice thought!


Oh, let’s take a quick trip down memory lane….




Bella & Beau will winter apart and return next March 2020.  Remember their two chicks from last year?  If those two did well, they will also be returning to the Chesapeake Bay region that same March after their 1½ years away.  They will not know their parents and may be a hundred miles away hunting for a mate, there are no longer any family ties.  And finally, Bonita & Brad, they will stay in Central or South America for their 1½ years’ vacay and return March 2021.

Bon voyage, Osprey, may you fly strong and stay safe to return to us for another season!

I hope you’ve enjoyed the fascinating 27-week breeding season life cycle of the Osprey and maybe learned a thing or two.  This bird is found on every continent around the world except Antarctica and was almost extinguished from existence with the human use of pesticide DDT until its ban.  Now thriving once again, the Osprey has made a tremendous comeback.  Aren’t we very lucky!!

By the way…..did I make an Osprey lover out of you?  😊


P.S.   Thank you very much for following along Bella & Beau’s season and for the wonderful, kind, awesome, and beautiful comments so many of you left.  I also thank my wonderful husband who has put up with my time at the computer to create these posts, as well as his help in alerting me to ‘something going on’ so many times.  And of course, thank you Osprey Bella, Beau, Bonita, and Brad, you made the summer extra-special for me!



46 thoughts on “Bella & Beau 2019: Farewell Osprey, A Season Finale

  1. And the day came… The family has gone to migration. The first migration for Brad and Bonita. I wish them a safe trip and may they find their destination and grow strong and savvy. Thank you, my friend for sharing the Osprey family with me and others. 😥

    • Thank you very much, HJ, for following along and loving the B&B family with me. Oh my goodness, it is so eerily quiet now without all the temper tantrums. At least that is a plus at 4:00 a.m. and on. But, I already miss them. Still catching myself looking out at the nest. 😢

  2. I learned a few things, such as the females are larger than the males, and they have a “necklace”, the young have red eyes while the adults have gold eyes, some ospreys build better nests than others and the youngsters stay south the first year. I really enjoyed this season, and the shots of Brad right outside your balcony are excellent! The first shot of the empty nest looked so forlorn.I wish them well and maybe we will see the young ones next year, but more likely Bella and Beau. Thanks to your husband, and you, my lady, have taken some stellar images. Well done, and a big thank-you!

    • Thank you very much, Jane, I am so happy you enjoyed the series and learned a few things. Aren’t Osprey amazing?!! From habit, I am still glancing out at the nest every time I pass the window, lol. The gulls have checked it out numerous times just in case there’s still a morsel of fish on the platform to eat. It is so quiet now. Really a weird feeling, but also a good feeling knowing another successful season occurred; time for the Osprey to go and rest for a while so they can come back and do it all over again! 😊

  3. How beautifully documented the past breeding season was Donna, you have done brilliantly, and I love the humor you injected into it also which made it all the more enjoyable. It won’t be much longer and they will be doing it all again.

    • Thank you very much, Ashley! It was a lot of fun following them and grabbing slices of their life through my lens to share. They made my past two summers extra-special. And yes, after a nice long rest, they will be back and begin again another amazing breeding season, YAY!

  4. Hello Donna,
    Yes, you made me fall in love with ospreys through your narrative and beautiful images ❤
    I felt my eyes tear up as I viewed each shot in this series. It is bittersweet to see that empty nest, but what a wonderful accomplishment for this Osprey Family. I wish them all safe travels, and hope they continue to flourish. Brad's pouting expressions are priceless!
    Thank you Donna, for sharing, you are a wonderful photographer and storyteller!

    Best wishes,

    • Thank you very much, Takami, for loving this family along with me! It is a bittersweet time, it is so quiet now. At least there’s no 4:00 am Osprey alarm, lol, but the local laughing gulls are already making up for that now with their sunrise laughing. 😉 Winter here will come and go, and before we know it, the Osprey will be high-tailing it back to make sure they get possession of their nest again for another year. Hopefully, Beau takes an architect course before returning to better his nest building skills! hee hee 😊

  5. What a wonderful series – and a great ‘shaking’ shot! When we got back from our Arctic trip on 9/10 it was apparent, visually and audibly, that most of the osprey had left. However, on 9/11 there was a lot of screeching out in the cove and one chick, of the three, was on the nest with mama Betty. After that I never heard a sound again. However, two days ago I spotted one of our ‘nestless’ osprey pair sitting in its favorite tree. But you are right, somewhere out there they are all making their way south. I wish them ‘fair winds’! By the way, there are no ospreys in the high Arctic – I guess that is too far north for them.

    • Thank you very much, Susan! Isn’t it so quiet now, now that the Osprey have departed? It’s a bittersweet time. I saw one yesterday, flying over the Choptank River. Those in the New England states may come through our area on their migration south, so we’ll see some transients here and there for the next couple weeks. Osprey are found in Greenland and on the Canadian Arctic islands, go any further north and, yes you’re right, way too cold for them to find food.

  6. Yeah, I can just imagine how you felt when you first saw that photo of Brad shaking off the water. Great series of photos today and always.

  7. A job well done (both you and parents Bella and Beau). It has been fascinating to see this family up close and personal – truly unforgettable. Thanks, Donna!

  8. Ahhh… they will be missed! Great to revisit this extraordinary family and its summer adventures. Your photos have certainly added much great learning and enjoyment. Thank you for a job well done!

  9. I enjoyed the recap this morning, Donna, as I’ve missed most of the ongoing posts these last few months. Training to become a TX Master Naturalist, I attended a bird training class yesterday with Gary Clark of Houston Audubon. He would LOVE this series! I’m going to pass it on to him.

    Cheers, Lady! Or perhaps I should say cheer up, Empty-nester; there’s always next year.

  10. Bella and Beau, and Bonita and Brad have been exciting visitors to my computer screen, courtesy of your blogs Donna. I shall miss them. Thank you for bringing them into my lounge room, and yes, I now have a fondness for Osprey, and a knowledge beyond just a bunch of feathers and a beak. Best of luck Donna.

  11. So ends another series of ‘The Ospreys’. I can hardly wait for the new 2020 series to be scheduled… compelling viewing with a strong storyline and amazing plot-twists. RH

    • Thank you, RH! The season comes quickly with excitement, then it goes on and on and on…..and then suddenly it’s over and you wonder where the season went! lol Osprey definitely provide great entertainment when watched daily. 🙂

  12. Somehow I missed your final post … so searched back. Needed to read the last chapter of the book for closure!
    An awe inspiring series Donna. Yes, your Osprey family has enriched and inspired… and yes, ospreys have me captured!
    Totally wonderful. Thankyou! 🦅🦅🦅🦅😊

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